Thursday, 22 October 2015

Crimson Peak (4 Stars)

The film is set at the end of the 19th Century. Edith Cushing is the daughter of a rich businessman in New York. A young English inventor, Sir Thomas Sharpe, visits her father to ask him to invest in the development of a new clay mining machine. The father turns him down, but Edith falls in love with him, marries him and moves to England. The film follows the tradition of the Gothic romance novels of the 18th and 19th Century. The naive romance of the young woman is overshadowed by dark schemes of evil and madness.

Let me get out of the way that this isn't a horror film. It's a ghost story, but the ghosts, even though they look frightening, aren't necessarily evil. They aren't even the main agents in the film. They're peripheral to the plot. In the film Edith has written a novel and is searching for a publisher. It's criticised for being a ghost story, but she says that the ghost in her story is a metaphor, it's about a romance. That applies to the film as well. "Crimson Peak" is a love story, but it's a tragic, doomed love affair.

Tom Hiddleston (Sir Thomas Sharpe) and Mia Wasikowska (Edith Cushing) are two of my favourite actors. Their performances carry the film. Jessica Chastain seems like a caricature of Bette Davis in her role as Thomas' sister Lucille, but I'm sure this was intentional. As is to be expected from director Guillermo del Toro, the film offers bright beautiful colours with delightful cinematography. This is a film worth watching more than once.

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